Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar on Sunday said conducting trials of genetically modified (GM) crops was prohibited in India even as the import of such agricultural produce was allowed in the country.
Since such trials are banned in India, the country could not go ahead with regard to GM crops, he said.
Addressing an event organised by his party at Amravati in Maharashtra, Pawar said some decisions were taken by the Supreme Court on GM crops earlier and its ill-effects can be seen today.
It is necessary to change this, he added.
"Today, we are fine with (GM) American food grains (oil seeds), but farmers are prohibited to grow anything from GM," Pawar said.
Addressing a press conference after the event, when Pawar was asked to elaborate on this, he said edible oil from a GM crop is imported in India from Malaysia, Brazil and America.
India buys GM oil seeds, processes them, and then supplies the oil to its people, but trials of GM crops are banned in the country, he said.
"If trials are not conducted, then how will farmers get new varieties?" Pawar asked.
The veteran politician said the Centre's policy on GM crops is that trials must be conducted for three consecutive years and there should be no side-effects even to animals.
"Today since the trials are banned, we could not go ahead (with regards to GM crop)," he said.
Pawar also said the Centre should be forced to adopt a more practical policy on Minimum Support Price (MSP).
He said the opposition parties were of the opinion that the MSP guarantee was required in the three farm bills brought by the Narendra Modi government, which had to be repealed later.